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What food should we try in France?

What food should we try in France? What is the best food in France? I know Escargo is a must if I am going to France. Thank you so much for your help.

Posted by
89 posts

We loved the crepes at the crepes stands. My husband I both loved the cinnamon one, but they have several selections to choose from. Oh and the croissants are to die for.

Posted by
5697 posts

Don't feel compelled to try escargot or anything else. My husband likes to try onion soup to compare between restaurants. Some people go in search of the "best" croissant or croque monsieur or beef bourgignon. But so many things are good.

Posted by
6052 posts

Escargots are fun if you get the chance, but to me they're inferior to their seafood cousins. Also, they tend to be available only in traditional places, many of which don't necessarily offer the best food - unless you go to an expensive one. So I wouldn't go out of my way to try them.

However, I would definitely try several different pastries in a pastry shop, and have a picnic lunch of French bread, French cheese and cold cuts. In many ways that's more 'French' than escargots, which most French people never eat. Ditto onion soup: I'm sure it's lovely, but even though I was born in Paris I've never had it.

Posted by
15445 posts

If you are looking for the "exotic", consider horse meat which isn't hard to find. Maybe you can still get frogs' legs.

The best food is usually the small restaurants that look a little shabby (to American eyes) and don't cater to tourists. French pastries are usually good quality from the ubiquitous bakeries. French chocolates at the premier chocolatiers are the world's best.

Posted by
983 posts

Simple, fresh baguettes! Other options are every cheese you can't find back home, various pâtes, and whatever fruit is in season. All combined (with a bottle of wine), those make an easy to find picnic lunch.

Posted by
120 posts

If you have never had foie gras, that would be a good thing to try while you are in Paris. I have always loved crapes but buckwheat crapes were a new thing to me in Paris. Some crepe places have an option of an egg placed on top of the crepe but I went to one place that asked if I wanted an egg and I said yes and it was actually cooked inside the crêpe itself – yummy.

Of course if you walk into a patisserie, you will see dozens of things you feel that you really need to try .


Posted by
522 posts

Cheese (ask store owner for recommendations), bread, raw oysters, cassoulet, macarons, wine, champagne, croque monsieur, any pastry that looks good.

I did read just yesterday a good reminder I had forgotten about - bread stores sell great bread and pastry stores sell great pastries but rarely does a store sell both and they are both great. So make sure to get you baguette from a place that sells bread and likewise for pastries.

Also, for some reason coffee is disappointing until you get to the south of France and the beer scene in France is very ho-hum. But of course - the wine is beyond!

Posted by
7605 posts

We love baguettes which are far superior to anything we can buy in the US.
We also adore the cheese possibilities many of which are not available due to different regulations in the US.

Another dish we only find here is duck confit.
the best Boeuf Buiguignon and grand marnier souffles we have had are at Chez Dumonet in Paris. You can get a half order of the Boeuf and that is plenty for me; when I dine with family I get a full order so they can share along with whatever they are getting -- it is that good.

We like good crepes in creperies with varied fillings savory and sweet. I am not as thrilled with the doughy monstrosities at the crepe stands. But if you want a quick filling very cheap meal, a ham and cheese crepe at a stand gets the job done for about 5 Euro -- less for simply cheese or ham or other fiillings like sugar or bananas.

Posted by
5253 posts

I’ve lived in France for a year and traveled there many other times. I’ve never eaten escargot. I wouldn’t consider it a food that you must try.

Eat cheese, drink wine and have as many croissants as you can. If you see Kouign-amann, eat one. Have lots of baguette sandwiches.

Posted by
6774 posts

Sounds like you’ll be going up north to Mt.-Saint-Michele. In Normandy\Brittany, where apples grow better than wine grapes, try the local cider (spelled cidre there). Use it to wash diwn a ham and cheese Gallete- a large stuffed buckwheat pancake.

Mussels with fries (moules frites), mentioned above, are the classic seaside meal, and you won’t get them fresher anywhere else!

Baguette bread is considered essential for living, and there are some bakeries awarded for their superior products. Speaking of baked goods, a small, colorful macaron (not macaroon) is a sublime cookie. Get a rainbow assortment of macarons. And breakfast croissants come plain (excellent) or chocolate (maybe even better).

Emily mentioned Kouign-Amann, a specialty of Brittany. Pronounced “queen amahn,” it’s like a giant caramel roll on steroids, and may be the best thing of all time.

And notice that French egg yolks are intensely yellow. And at a market you may see chickens roasting on rotating spits, with the chicken fat dripping onto potatoes underneath them. Don’t miss the best chicken and spuds anyone ever conceived of! Even if you don’t eat liver regularly, have pate de foie gras (pronounced pahtay de fwah grah), and enjoy! Creme caramel (“krehm kara-mel”) what pudding or custard are all trying to be, is a must-have dessert.

Posted by
7605 posts

ahh the Kouign-Amann. The landlord of the apartment we rented in St. Malo provided us with two on arrival for our first breakfast and we were hooked. I went out every morning to a bakery after that and bought them for breakfast each day -- they are very yummy.

Paris bakeries have about a dozen different chocolate pastries for breakfast ranging from chocolate croissants and pain chocolate (not the same thing) Suisses, and just a variety of others. Any one bakery is likely to have 4 or 5 options as well as raisin snails, chouquettes kind of cream puffs rolled in large chunks of sugar, almond croissants, pastries with peaches or apples or pears, and my personal favorite the chausson aux pommes. or better yet the chausson citron (or lemon slipper). When in Paris we get a baguette for break fast to have with great French butter -- usually a traditional but sometimes a samertine (sesame) or whole grain and then usually get a couple of mini pain chocolate or some other pastry which we split. We don't particularly like croissants but for those who do it is fun to compare bakeries until you find your favorite. WE stay in a place literally across the street from the most recent winner of the baguette competition in Paris which supplies the Presidential palace -- and their baguettes are really good.

Posted by
375 posts

For the last two trips, my husband ordered the plat du jour almost every time we ate out. As a less adventurous
eater, I would often get duck confit or steak frites. Caesar salad or brochettes (kebobs). Bon Appétit!

Posted by
712 posts

It does really depend on the region. A good strategy is to get the plat du jour, or the menu. The menu is several courses, offering what’s fresh and allows you to try a number of different things (especially the experience of a full, French paced meal.) Menu portions are smaller, it’s not an overload. You want dessert! This is sort of a good primer for how to enjoy France, become a temporary local. Grab some croissants from the corner bakery, crepes on the street, some chocolates on your way home. If you can, visit an open air market in the countryside.

In a general sense, the French are pretty good at everything, but deserve some shout outs: Anything with eggs or egg-based is perfectly done. Quiches, Creme brûlée, pastries, custards will blow your mind. They have a special talent for dishes that are easy to over/undercook. The French make great salads! Cheese (of course) and cured meats are a specialty, pâtés and terrines are off the charts.

As always, avoid touristy places pushing those French classics out of season. Bon Appétit!

Posted by
2261 posts

I've had pigeon a few times in France and been quite happy with it. It's dense, lean and flavorful. As well, I've had steak tartare a couple times, and it's been very good-this is not a dish I'd order in the U.S.

I had an excellent venison dish at A la Biche au Bois, as good a place as any to find unusual, possibly challenging edibles. Elsewhere, beef kidneys looked an awful lot like...beef kidneys, and they were great.
Fois gras for sure, and if you can find it seared and with fig, that's a bonus. Do find a Grand Marnier souffle while there...please. Oh, and down South, lavender gelato.

Escargot is not a must.

Posted by
12132 posts

The best food is seasonal and local. Sometimes it's best to ask a waiter what is a good local, seasonal choice rather than try the "big name" French dishes that are often poorly prepared specifically for the tourist trade.

That said, you can't beat Cancale's oysters. Moules frites in any small port town. Crepes are everywhere. I've never had a sweet crepe. I've only had savory, made with buckwheat and filled with things like eggs and ham (lots of choices, like pizza). Bakeries sell single serving quiche as a decent take out choice for breakfast; I'd always build your breakfast around a visit to a local bakery.

You will be surprised how often French eat sandwiches (Sahn - weech). It's really the normal takeout lunch for most working French. Bakeries, grocery stores and others have them pre-made.

Omelette is a legitimate dinner choice in France.

Posted by
1825 posts

The question isn't what food but where will you eat. Lunch is easy but dinner requires reservations which means planning ahead. Avoid waiting until you are hungry to figure out where to eat, that is a sure fire way to get a bad meal in France. Reservations are the norm in France.

Posted by
109 posts

Pizza? In France? Yes! Outside the Pompidou Center, my wife who does not usually eat pizza unless we’re in Italy, saw a person eating a unique pizza at at tiny indoor/outdoor place that I think was called Pizza Piano. We asked the man behind the counter and he said it was pizza crust with basalmic vinegar and herbs. It was wonderful! Everywhere we went in the Loire Valley, Normandy and Paris, there were different and interesting menu options. If you order the wrong thing, or if the waiter laughs at your fractured French (I always sound like Pepe Le Peuw when I speak it), you’ll have memories to cherish and stories to tell.

Posted by
2916 posts

Reservations are the norm in France.

In some places. But even where reservations are the norm, you can call from just outside the doorway and make a reservation if there are openings. Or just walk in. If there is space, you'll be seated.

Posted by
6113 posts

French food is regional and seasonal, so it depends where you are going. I haven’t seen snails on the menu in western France - there, you get bulots (winkles). Plenty of oysters too.

In Normandy, it’s galettes and crepes with cider, rather than wine.

Posted by
2314 posts

Ditto the regional and seasonal over the 'classics' in general, and I also like to speak up for the organ meats like ris de veau and rognons, and for local liqueurs like floc de Gascon or various quinquina variations...